Therapeutic responses to domestic violence in Australia

A history of controversies

Jac Brown*, Kerrie James

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews controversies about domestic violence occurring in heterosexual relationships discussed in the Australian context by practitioners and academics and published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy over the past three decades. Controversies arose in relation to the provision of therapeutic interventions for domestic violence, primarily in individual and couple counselling and group programs. After a literature review, the following controversial issues are identified: (1) the role of patriarchy: Is a patriarchal culture the main cause of domestic violence? (2) Systemic family therapy and gendered violence: Does systemic family therapy hide men's responsibility for domestic violence? (3) Therapeutic and educational interventions for domestic violence: Does therapy turn a 'crime' into a 'psychological problem'? (4) Men as victims: Do both men and women perpetrate domestic violence in equal measure? (5) It takes two to tango: What part do women play in eliciting men's violence?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-184
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

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